The 9th annual Scheels Fargo Marathon has already come and gone. This yearly event began in 2005 and brought in more than 2,400 participants. By 2013 (drum roll, please), more than 20,000 people participated. The Scheels Fargo Marathon offers a variety of races for all ages, including a 1K youth run, 5K fun run, 10K, two and four person relay, half marathon, and full marathon. This event has not only brought our community together, but has motivated people to pursue a healthy and active lifestyle. Whether you’re a runner, walker, sponsor, volunteer or fan, there’s a place for everyone to participate and feel like part of the event. Truth be told, running is a huge passion of mine, and I couldn’t wait to write a blog post about this. The event has made a tremendous impact throughout the Fargo-Moorhead area, both online and offline. Social media plays a huge role in raising awareness around the event, while the online community comes together to share their experiences and congratulate others on their success.
I enjoyed monitoring the online conversations to see what users were saying around the event. There were more than 4,200 mentions related to the Fargo Marathon before, during and after the races. While Twitter generated the most engagement with more than 2,100 mentions, there were a lot of conversations on Facebook as the network had approximately 1,300 mentions. The majority of these mentions were from users who were congratulating other runners on their races at this year’s event. I also noticed a lot of YouTube videos of runners finishing at this year’s race, as well as blog posts from runners who gave a recap of their race and overall experience at the Fargo Marathon.
Although I did see some negative mentions around the weather forecast, the majority of the conversations remained positive. The top news articles shared online were around Dick Beardsley’s appearance at the Swanson Health Expo and the ‘joggler’ (jogger + juggler) who participated in this year’s half-marathon race. And in case you’re all wondering how this 19-year-old freshman ‘joggler’ from North Dakota State University finished (I know I am), he completed 13.1 miles in an hour and forty-seven minutes. Mind you, he did this all while running and juggling three balls at the same time.
I noticed a variety of conversations before the event, including users who were predicting the weather forecast, sharing tips on avoiding dehydration, and wishing other runners “good luck” in their races. Businesses were also encouraging runners to visit their booth at the Swanson Health Expo via their corporate social media accounts on Facebook and Twitter. During the event, @ValleyNewsLive did a play-by-play of the races, announcing where the top runners were throughout the courses and revealing the winners at the end of each race.
After the event, people posted photos on Instagram and shared how they felt after their walk/run on other social networks. I noticed multiple users who were congratulating runners on Twitter and expressing their interest in participating in the 2014 Scheels Fargo Marathon. Regional colleges were also congratulating alumni runners who ran in this year’s race:
I did not notice a designated hashtag that was used on Twitter; however, #FargoMarathon, #RunFargo13, #RunChat and #GoFarChallenge popped up multiple times. I’d suggest creating a hashtag strategy for the event and promoting that hashtag online and on traditional marketing mediums, such as event signage. This would help increase engagement and build an even stronger online community. Overall, it’s amazing how this event has impacted our region and brought the online community together to celebrate and recognize success. The conversation around the event extends beyond the Fargo-Moorhead area, whether you’re watching from the side, at the finish line or engaging online. Congratulations to everyone who participated in the Scheels Fargo Marathon this year. I am so excited for next year!